Monthly partners John and Mae from Vancouver, BC first heard about Mercy Ships on a television program eight years ago. They also give back by being Miles for Mercy collectors, which means they collect Air Miles at all places that accept them and donate them to Mercy Ships Canada!
Jane, who speaks to Mercy Ships Canada donors on a daily basis, caught up with John and Mae to ask them a few questions and find out why they continue to be monthly partners.
What inspired you to give your first gift?
Seeing people who help other people. When people go out to help others…we want to join them. Your work was really interesting.
What inspired you to become a monthly partner?
We like the convenience. We can help more people that way.
Why do you think others should become monthly donors?
The more the better! When we learn more about Mercy Ships…we know our money is well spent.
How do you feel connected to Mercy Ships and the cause?
We like talking to Jane! We like the videos…to see the ship outside & inside. To see exactly what you do.
We are so grateful for partners like John and Mae, who give what they can to support the Mercy Ships mission in bringing free healthcare to the developing world. It couldn’t be done without people like them!
Take a moment to watch a recent favorite video of John and Mae’s
Did you know that the Africa Mercy has a dedicated Hospital Informatics Manager? This field service the role is filled by the talented Denny who creates pretty amazing graphics like this one. Here’s a summary in his words of what it is and how it helps us out in the field.
This is an info graphic dashboard that gives us a glimpse of where we have recruited patients, in what proportions, and for what diagnosis. This dashboard is updated in real-time as patients are screened with our mobile screening app on smartphones by Beninese field screeners. It also contains a radar chart that tells us the number of patients we have screened for each specialty. The area chart in the bottom middle displays the number of patients that have been screened each day by each Beninese field screeners. Based off the statistics within this dashboard we can adjust our screening strategies to recruit patients in a balanced way from all regions of the country for each specialty.
We’re so excited to take a glimpse this week at Hospital Informatics and see how technology and medicine are connecting more and more to provide better patient care!
The power of love means many things, but for Mercy Ships, love means saving lives. Partners like you make this possible, and we are so blessed to have your support. Thank you for all you do to share love with those in need. Today, on Valentine’s Day, we want not only our patients to know that they are enough, but for you to know how grateful we are that you are showing up for them, and for Mercy Ships. With that, we leave you with an excerpt from Dear Human – By Courtney Walsh.
Dear Human: You’ve got it all wrong.
You didn’t come here to master unconditional love.
That is where you came from and where you’ll return.
You came here to learn personal love.
Universal love. Messy love. Sweaty love.
Crazy love. Broken love. Whole love.
Infused with divinity. Lived through the grace of stumbling.
Demonstrated through the beauty of… messing up. Often.
You didn’t come here to be perfect. You already are.
You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous.
And then to rise again into remembering.
Love, in truth, doesn’t need ANY other adjectives.
It doesn’t require modifiers.
It doesn’t require the condition of perfection.
It only asks that you show up. And do your best.
That you stay present and feel fully.
That you shine and fly and laugh and cry
and hurt and heal and fall and get back up
and play and work and live and die as YOU.
It’s enough. It’s Plenty.
Dr. Ross first heard about Mercy Ships when she saw a documentary on television about 10 years ago, as a young surgeon practicing in Ontario. “When the narrator said, ‘the line just never ends’ I decided then and there I would one day volunteer on that ship” Joan tells us.
What inspired you to give your first gift?
My first “gift” was to volunteer as a surgeon on the Ship after being inspired by the documentary 10 years earlier. I was skeptical to donate to another charitable organization at the time and determined I would have to see it to believe it! After being on the ship in person, I was disappointed that I hadn’t helped this cause much earlier, as everything is just as they show – they truly are giving free surgery at the highest standard, to the poorest nations in the world, and the donations truly are going directly to the real surgical needs of the people of those countries.
Why did you become a monthly donor?
I became a monthly donor after hosting a Benefit Concert for Mercy Ships put on by singer/songwriter Déni Gauthier. I was so pleased to see that many of my friends who listened to my short presentation about my experience on the Ship at intermission that night, understood that “the line never ends”. Many gave monthly donations rather than a one-time gift. I also decided to give my ongoing support to the magnificent work being done on the Ship, as well as continue to do speaking engagements to try to recruit other volunteers and monthly donors. In my time on the Ship I was awestruck to hear not only the steady thank yous from so many grateful patients, but every one of them always added, “Please keep Mercy Ships going so others will get the surgery they need also.”
How do you feel connected to Mercy Ships and the work while living in Canada and far from the ship?
The email newsletters and videos keep you very well connected with the lives that are being changed. I never watch a Mercy Ships video without being moved to tears, but also find myself cheering through my tears, as their smiles become “so big” when they see the transformation the surgery brings. The involvement I’ve had with the Organization personally, has been so amazing from the first email inquiry 4 years ago about volunteering. Every question is responded to with amazing promptness and cheerfulness, which allayed my fears and encouraged me incredibly. Every staff member I’ve been in contact with has become like family to me, both those I’ve met and those I haven’t. They all have so much passion and kindness. Since I agreed to join their Speaker’s Network, they have promptly and freely given me all the information I could ever need as I prepare for the many questions an inquiring audience might ask. They just make everything so very easy which is such a joy.
Since being a volunteer on the Ship, I saw firsthand that donations go directly towards people who desperately need surgery. I’ve seen how grateful every patient is for the gift of tangible hope, and this is nothing short of “love in action” which i personally know is most fulfilling to the giver. You can’t help but understand that it truly is “more blessed to give than to receive.”
Why do you think others should become monthly donors?
Monthly donations bring more stability to the day to day functioning of the Ship, and the ability to budget to keep the Ship going, for the great number of surgeries that need to done week by week, month by month, year by year.
Thank you Dr. Ross for your ongoing commitment to Mercy Ships, because of partners like you, one day the line will end.
Are you interested in becoming a monthly partner?GIVE MONTHLY TODAY!
“It’s the largest tumor I’ve ever seen,” said the X-ray technician, watching as the massive tumor traveled across the computer screen. It belonged to Sonia, a 34-year old nurse. The growth stretched out from her left cheek and was the size of a human head.
Sonia passed through the machine as it buzzed and whirred, taking images and measurements with beams and signals.
But no such scan could capture the pictures deep within her mind as she imagined life without this tumor. A life with her own family … one day … perhaps? She hoped and prayed that surgery would be possible now that she was in the care of the doctors at Mercy Ships.
Carrying this heavy tumor everywhere was a burden. Before going into the world outside her home, Sonia always wrapped her hair into a fabric twist, leaving a longer piece of material to hang down over her face. From certain angles, it helped to hide what she wished she could make disappear.
Sonia had spent years watching the mass grow. She had tried various forms of treatment, but nothing worked. Facing the world with a major disfigurement had been far from easy; yet she still managed to make a career for herself as a nurse, despite the shunning stares.
She went to work each day at the local hospital and treated her patients. Unfortunately, hospitals in undeveloped nations lack technology and specializations needed to treat a severe condition like Sonia’s. They primarily deal with malaria cases and provide maternity care.
The thought of maternity care and babies was a reminder of a startling truth – at 34, Sonia had no children of her own nor did she have a husband. In many cultures like Sonia’s, family is the defining factor in identity and value. Without family, you were considered … less. But Sonia refused to fret, saying, “I’m waiting until the tumor’s gone. Then I’ll start my family.”
Finally, the test results came back, and Sonia prepared herself for the news – news that just might change the course of her life. The doctors had reviewed her case, and sure enough … she’d been scheduled for free surgery on the Africa Mercy!
From that point, things happened quickly. Sonia was admitted to the hospital ship and had a successful surgery. After the bandages were removed, she could be seen holding up a mirror from time to time – as if to confirm that the tumor really was gone. And it was!
Just a few short weeks later, Sonia was a new woman. The scars will take time to heal, and the extra skin that used to hold the large mass will shrink down to size as the months pass. But with a new hair-do, a sassy smile and a definitive sparkle in her eye, she looks radiant. Now she can focus on making her dreams a reality, starting with a search for “Mr. Right!”
Story by Windsor Marchesi